To Infinity and Beyond: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015


In the 1960s, NASA received over 4% of the entire federal budget. Since then, its budget had been reduced by about eighty percent of this, causing most major exploration programs to be postponed. In the past ten years however, there has been a new push towards space exploration. Private companies such as SpaceX have created an economic market for space projects. Now, NASA partners with these private organizations to sustain operations such as the International Space Station, but also competes against them as agencies set their eyes on lunar bases and mars missions.

This private/public rivalry is also catalyzed by the emergence of other public space agencies, particularly in Asia. These agencies have their own projects, private partnerships, and agendas for future missions. All these factors have sparked a new, yet less overt, space race; with so many institutions striving for space exploration, it is no longer a question of “if” but “who” and “when” pioneers reach the next milestones.

So, in this space age mixed with alliances and rivalries, NASA is being reborn as an organization. Since 2013, its budget has been steadily rising, especially as it creates new, dynamic partnerships. The administration has already proposed plans for a 2024 lunar mission, followed by a more permanent settlement. In the most human instinct to look at the stars, there has never been a time in history where the cosmos have been closer.

Ananya Karanam


When Ananya is feeling confident, she’ll say she’s a bit of an astrophysicist herself. This is because she is an Astrophysics major (and Architectural Studies minor!) and she won’t ever let you forget it. She is a second year at UChicago from Connecticut who has very mixed feelings about her boring yet lovable state. Last year, she crashed on Dan’s bed so often that he decided to leave housing. Now she continues to crash, but in Dan’s apartment. Along with ChoMUN, Ananya has fully embraced the Model UN cult at UChicago by joining Team and chairing the Paris Climate Accords for MUNUC. For Chomun XXII, she was an AC for the National Congress of Mothers, and on the circuit she has competed primarily in riveting small GA’s. Ananya is also involved in theater at UChicago, both behind the scenes and on stage. She helps with lighting design for productions and most recently acted in a bilingual play, performing in Spanish as well as English. One of Ananya’s passions is the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, and she plans on debuting in the 2023 Bachelor season after graduating. When she’s not busy feeling too emotionally invested in Demi’s journey, she enjoys watching bad movies, checking out new museums, and appreciating Chicago architecture. She is ecstatic to be chairing this NASA committee with her two bestest friends - Dan and Heleena. Ask any of your out of this world questions by emailing

Heleena Assefa

Crisis Director

Heleena is a second year at UChicago studying Economics. Though she likes to tell people she’s from D.C., she actually lives twenty whole minutes outside of D.C. and has immense NoVA pride for someone who grew up all over the world—she’s lived in Nigeria, Angola, and Saudi Arabia! Like Ananya and Dan, Heleena has sold her soul to UChicago MUN. At ChoMUN XXII, she was an AC on the JCC: Pulitzer vs. Hearst, and she also chairs a hybrid committee for MUNUC, UChicago’s high school conference. To complete the MUN trifecta, she’s an involved member of Team, which is how she met Ananya and Dan. Fun fact: the three of them became friends when rooming assignments got mixed up and they ended up sharing a hotel room at the first conference they went to together! When she’s not busy with a MUN-related activity, Heleena is mentoring high school students through the Institute of Politics’ LegUp program, reading, watching classic movies, and holding controversial opinions about the Bachelor as a proud Hannah B. fan since day one. Heleena recently discovered that the science behind "Interstellar" is entirely fictional, but she is excited to learn about real astronomy for this committee! Heleena can’t wait to CD the NASA committee and spend a weekend sharing her favorite space conspiracies with you all! Feel free to email her at

Daniel Rowe

Crisis Director

Daniel Rowe, Dan to his friends, is a second year at the college double majoring in Economics and Creative Writing. He’s (strangely) proud of the fact that he’s from New Jersey. And speaking of friends, Dan is truly excited to be working with his two favorite people on this campus to develop such a lovely committee! Dan participates in every iteration of MUN. He’s an executive for Mexico’s Cabinet 1988 at MUNUC, UChicago’s high school conference, and competes on Team. Dan is excited to compete more in crisis and continue strengthening his skills in GAs over this school year. Besides competing and running conferences, Dan really enjoys spreading this weird larping activity to unsuspecting high schoolers. In fact, Dan spent last summer in China as part of Pegasus, an educational Model UN summer camp for middle and high schoolers. Outside Model UN, Dan is working hard to perfect his French and write in his free time. If you’re lucky, you may spot him around campus giving tours for the college. On most days, you can find him on the UChicago quad tossing around a frisbee, crafting an expert cheese plate to enjoy with friends, or making cookies -- he loves to bake cookies. To relax, Dan makes quality memes for/about his friends (and co-execs). Dan truly can’t wait to CD this committee. At every step of the way, he has worked hard (maybe too hard) to bring a space committee, of any kind, to ChoMUN. This is truly a dream come true, and he can’t wait to bring NASA to life with all of you. Feel free to reach out to him (and share some dank memes)

Secretariat oversight:

Katie Delong, Under-Secretary-General